Marine Atlantic halts ferry bookings
Marine Atlantic has stopped taking new bookings as it deals with a backlog of traffic.
This comes after one of its ferries ran aground in Port-Aux-Basques, knocking it out of service.
A couple from Montreal had vacation plans in Newfoundland, but because of the travel glitch they’re still on Cape Breton Island.
“Now it’s all cancelled, because the boat is only going to Port-Aux-Basques,” says stranded passenger Andre Boisvert. “We don’t want to drive all the way across Newfoundland.”
The Boisvert’s plight is part of a trickle-down effect, caused when Marine Atlantic’s MV Blue Puttees ran aground Wednesday.
The boat suffered damage to its bow and is under repair in Halifax until late August.
The Crown ferry service says it’s made tough decisions, such as pulling the Argentia ferry trip for the next two weeks so backed-up traffic can be moved ahead.
They are not accepting new passengers until further notice.
“For anybody who hasn’t made a booking a yet, unfortunately at this point we don’t have the capacity available,” explains Darrell Mercer of Marine Atlantic. “We’re looking to accommodate our existing customers.”
With no ferry bookings, many people will be left with only the option of flying to Newfoundland.
It’s a type of travel that can be pricey on short notice. For two adults to book a round trip, leaving Halifax tomorrow and returning from St. John’s about a week later, the average price would cost $2,000.
Those in Newfoundland are forced to drive across the province, which takes about eleven hours.
“We certainly recognize the inconvenience that is caused to our customers,” says Mercer. “There are approximately five thousand customers that had been booked over the next couple of weeks, so that’s a significant impact. We are trying our best to contact all of those customers as quickly as possible, to provide them with some travel options.”
“Now we feel stranded,” says traveler Janet Malko. “One week, nowhere to stay.”
“Trying to re-organize,” explains Boisvert. “Finding hotels and bed-and-breakfasts.”
Marine Atlantic says it is unclear when sailings will return to normal because they are waiting to learn how badly the Blue Puttees is damaged.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald